We have people from all walks of life coming in. It's a great mix of people
North Attleboro, MA (PRWEB) May 26, 2010
Bowling is back! Under new ownership, North Attleboro’s North Bowl Lanes has transformed from a run-of-the-mill bowling alley into a full-featured family entertainment center. Owners Ed and Kelli Kinsley have updated the center to include a great new game room, upscale menu options and more than 40 lanes of bowling. In addition, on Friday and Saturday evenings, the center transforms itself into an exciting nightclub atmosphere.
North Bowl Lanes is not your father’s bowling alley with dingy facilities, cheap beer and hotdogs spinning on steel rollers. North Bowl is part of a makeover of America’s everyman sport. Its 40 lanes are designed to attract a style-conscious, over-21 crowd that likes nightlife ambience and upscale food with its pins and lanes.
Like many bowling centers -- they no longer call themselves bowling alleys -- North Bowl draws diverse patrons with extras like video games, a full scale bar and special programs for kids. They have also diversified by offering corporate parties and birthday parties. The food service is casual but upscale, featuring pizzas made in the center’s wood-fired brick oven, gourmet burgers and lots of great appetizer choices.
“We have people from all walks of life coming in. It's a great mix of people,” Ed Kinsley says.
The Kinsley’s, along with their son Steven invested more than $1 million to remodel the facility. Lucky Strike Lanes, a new chain of sleek bowling lounges with a nightclub feel, opened its first lanes in California and helped provide the inspiration for North Bowl.
Though the number of bowling centers and lanes has decreased since the bowling center’s peak around 1962, there’s good news for the sport. A study found that 36.8 percent of kids ages 6 to 17 bowl, and they make up bowling’s fastest-growing clientele. And, the number of casual bowlers out for fun has grown, taking the sting off of declining league play.
In the late ’70s and early ’80s, when bowling reached its zenith, about 8 million league bowlers knocked the pins down. Today, there are fewer than 2 million league players, who spend an average of about $500 per year to bowl 100 to 125 games.
About 1,100 people play in leagues at North Bowl, manager Steve Kinsley says. They make up 35 percent of the center’s bowling business, with 65 percent coming from drop-in players, almost an exact flip-flop from 20 years ago, when leagues made up the bulk of the business. “League bowling is still an extremely important part of our business and it will continue to be very important. We are just trying to expand the business by attracting new customers with a more diverse product offering,” Steve Kinsley says. North Bowl hopes to expand its league bowling in the future with short season leagues, coaching leagues and other programs.
Part of bowling’s popularity as a family activity or a date night or a group outing is its accessibility. Players don't have to own their own shoes or ball or even know how to keep score.
Regular patrons Bill and Robin have seven children. Bill says “Bowling is something we can do with any of the kids regardless of their age. It’s fun for everyone in the family.” Young children are mesmerized by the game room with more than 35 brand new state-of-the-art video games, while the older kids and under-21 crowd enjoy bowling and “hanging out” at the center among its nightclub atmosphere on Fridays and Saturdays.
“For years bowling was like an ice cream store that only offered one flavor. Now the industry has discovered that bowling can be offered in many different flavors that appeal to different customer demographics at different times,” Ed Kinsley says. “With activities including league play, kids birthday parties, corporate parties, arcade games, upscale menu options, cocktails and late night cosmic bowling we try to offer something for everyone. We hope to provide a bowling center where everyone from age 5 to 95 will find an enjoyable bowling experience.”
North Bowl Lanes
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